If you've had trouble getting a booking at a dentist or optometrist, you're not alone.
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New research by not-for-profit health insurance provider Westfund has revealed Dubbo experiences one of the highest shortages of healthcare providers of all the areas they cover, meaning people are waiting longer for appointments.
According to Westfund, there are only 30 ancillary service providers - such as dentists, optometrists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, and psychologists - per 1000 people in Dubbo.
This is compared to more than 250 providers per 1000 people in other areas with similar needs to Dubbo, such as Townsville with 281 ancillary service providers per 1000 people.
"We hear lots of stories about people waiting for two or three weeks for a GP appointment," she said.
"We often talk about from a rural doctor's perspective the need to access care as much care as possible close to home. Because if they can't, some people choose not to access care.
"Then when they need care they end up being presented in an emergency department and their condition is acute as opposed to something being managed."
Dubbo fares better than Mudgee where there are only 14 ancillary service providers per 1000 members and Bathurst where there are 27. Orange has the best access to ancillary healthcare in the central west, with 33 ancillary service providers per 1000 members.
Of all the areas in the central west, Dubbo has the highest proportion of "high risk" members with 79 per 1000 members. In Bathurst the number of high risk members drops to 75 per 1000 and in Orange and Bathurst there are 67 per 1000.
Liz Casmiri, Westfund's chief health care services officer, said high-risk members are those who are most at risk of adverse health events, including those who may be sick or infirm or have underlying health conditions.
"It's someone that generally has had longer hospital admissions or goes into hospital quite frequently, or they have a number of chronic conditions - obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease," she said.
"Low risk members are generally members that are just using those ancillary services. They're in that preventative space, they're not yet unwell or they may not know that they're unwell."
Almost a third of Westfund members in Dubbo who are considered high or medium risk have a known chronic condition like diabetes, which has a rate of 34 per 1000 members. A high ratio of members have also been treated for heart disease, including ischaemic heart disease, valve disorders and heart attacks.
Ms Rutherford said good access to ancillary services can also help manage chronic disease in the community.
"When you've got a good multidisciplinary team you can do preventative programs, you can do health literacy and health education and that goes a long way," she said.
"Access to dieticians, access to physiotherapists, access to podiatrists, all those services contribute to better health outcomes.
"For example for someone who's got early stage type two diabetes, often that can be managed by diet as opposed to medications and things like that. So a dietician plays a big role in that."
Ms Casmiri hopes the report - released on Thursday, November 2 - will guide health care providers to better understand the gaps in healthcare access.
"There's a lot of things in there that we already know, but Westfund wants to call on providers and the healthcare community to work together to expand access and care," she said.
"Whether that's looking at digital deliveries or other proactive preventative services, we need to work together to try and bridge the gap because we can't as a health insurer, we're very committed but we can't do it on our own.
"We need to all work together and we need to have a tailored approach because each of our regions are similar, but there are some very unique challenges in what issues are arising."
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